In my opinion, Novena is often an overlooked area for property investors despite its excellent locational attributes. It is close to the city centre with easy access to both the Central Business District (CBD) as well as Singapore’s main shopping belt, Orchard Road, and it has many good schools and amenities in the area. Neu at Novena and Fyve Derbyshire were launched recently and here is a comprehensive review and comparison of the two projects.
Details about the developments
Neu at Novena is a freehold condominium developed by Roxy Pacific Holdings. It will be built on the site of the former Grand Tower at 27 Moulmein Rise. In May 2018, Roxy Pacific Holdings purchased two adjacent freehold residential sites at 27 Moulmein Rise for SGD$106 million. Ths total land size is 22,198 square feet (sq ft) and has a maximum permissible gross floor area of 72,003 sq ft. Neu at Novena will consist of a 17-storey residential block with sky terraces, 2 basement car parks with swimming pool and communal facilities on the 1st and 14th stories. There will be a total of 87 units. Here is the unit mix for the development:
2 bedroom, 549 to 657 sq ft, 57 units
3 bedroom, 861 sq ft, 5 units
3 bedroom dual key, 818 sq ft, 14 units
4 bedroom + utility, 1302 sq ft, 9 units
4 bedroom duplex, 1195 sq ft, 2 units
Fyve Derbyshire is a freehold condominium developed by Roxy Pacific Holdings. It will be built on the site of the former Derby Court at 5 Derbyshire Road. In December 2017, Roxy Pacific Holdings purchased the 20-unit Derby Court for SGD$73.88 million through a collective sale tender. The total land size of the development is 18,506 sq ft. The owners of the development received gross proceeds of between SGD$3.36 million and SGD$6.65 million per unit. This translates to a land rate of about SGD$1,390 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). Fyve Derbyshire will consist of a 19-storey residential block with half basement carparks, swimming pool and communal facilities. There will be a total of 71 units. Here is the unit mix for the development:
2 bedroom, 560 to 657 sq ft, 37 units
2 bedroom + guest, 797 sq ft, 17 units
3 bedroom + guest, 936 sq ft, 17 units
Where are the developments located?
Both Neu at Novena and Fyve Derbyshire are located very close to Novena MRT Station. Neu at Novena is located along Moulmein Rise, just next to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Fyve Derbyshire is located along Derbyshire Road, just off Essex Road, diagonally opposite SJI Junior.
According to Google Maps, the walk from Neu at Novena to Novena MRT Station will take approximately 4 minutes and the distance covered will be about 300 meters. You can utilise the MRT entrance from Square 2.
According to Google Maps, the walk from Fyve Derbyshire to Novena MRT Station will take about 9 minutes and the distance covered will be about 650 metres. It must be pointed out that there is also an entrance to Novena MRT Station just across the road, next to United Square. I would think that that option may be the one with more shelter.
Novena MRT Station is along the North-South MRT Line and it is very close to the city centre.
If you are travelling to Raffle Place MRT Station, you can travel along the same North-South Line over 6 stops. The total fare will be SGD$1.13 and the time taken should be about 10 stations. My query on the LTA mobile app seemed to conjure up a very peculiar result as I believe that their algorithm will try to present results with the fewest number of stations negating the time taken to change MRT lines.
If you are travelling to Orchard MRT Station, it will take you 2 stops and it will cost you SGD$0.83. The total time taken will be approximately 4 minutes.
Since both developments are located very close to one another, I would use Fyve Derbyshire as a point of reference for the timings to drive to Raffles Place and Orchard Road. The timings for Neu at Novena should be similar.
If you are driving to Raffles Place, it will take you about 14 minutes and the distance covered will be about 5.8 kilometres. Do factor in additional time for peak hour traffic as at the point when I did the Google Map query, it was off-peak hours and traffic conditions were optimal.
If you are driving to Orchard Road, it will take you approximately 7 minutes and the distance travelled will be approximately 2.6 kilometres.
The selling points of the developments
The main selling point for both developments would be their proximity to the city centre. Getting to Newton, Bugis, Orchard Road is very convenient. When you are located so close to the city centre, you will get a wide range of tenant profiles from those working in the city centre to those who may just want to live close to the city centre for the convenience even though they do not work in the city centre. This being district 11 is categorised as the Core Central Region by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and if you are looking for a property in the Core Central Region, developments in this area should be in your consideration.
The next selling point would be the fact that these are freehold properties. I really do not believe in the fact that 99-year leasehold developments appreciate more than freehold properties. There are many articles and literature on this but the data that is presented is usually comparing a 99-year leasehold development in a much better location versus a freehold development. I do think that there will be properties that will have their leases expire and their land taken back by the state. Land prices cannot continue their upward trajectory in the linear fashion without incomes as a whole following suit. We are seeing the negative impact of unaffordable housing in cities like Hong Kong and I am sure that Singapore home prices, due to the Singapore governments intervention and better urban planning, will not result in such unaffordable and speculative housing prices. Anyway, that will be a separate article for another day. My take is that these are freehold properties and Neu at Novena has prices from just above SGD$2,500 psf and Fyve Derbyshire has units going at around SGD$2,200 psf. Comparing these to prices north of SGD$2,500 psf at the 99-year leasehold development or prices north of SGD$2,000 psf at The Woodleigh Residences and I do believe that these freehold options in Novena are very compelling.
The developments are also surrounded by amenities especially the shopping malls, United Square, Novena Square and Square 2. There are two supermarkets, FairPrice and Cold Storage in the malls and there are many shopping and dining options as well. The extremely popular and prestigious SJI Junior school is also within a 1-kilometre radius of both developments. Fyve Derbyshire is also within a 1-kilometre radius of Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), another popular and prestigious primary school. You can never underestimate the draw for families to live close to a good primary school to enhance their child’s chances of gaining enrollment.
My thoughts about the developments
I do like Novena as a residential district. I do think that despite the talk that prices in the core central region (CCR) are lagging behind prices in rest of central region (RCR) and outside central region (OCR), I do think that many buyers are overpaying when it comes to prices in the RCR and OCR when better value can be obtained in the CCR. Observing the governments initiative to rejuvenate the CBD to make it a place to live as well as work (Think Greater Southern Waterfront and plans to rejuvenate Orchard Road), I do think that property investors should look back at the CCR.
Neu at Novena
Prices are just north of SGD$2,500 psf. This represents an approximate 30 per cent premium over Soleil @ Sinaran which is a 99-year leasehold development and is an older development. Neu at Novena, being the nearest freehold condominium to Novena MRT Station, I do think that their pricing is rather aggressive. I do think that the market conditions have forced the developer to price so aggressively and this has resulted in healthy sales figures since the development’s launch.
As mentioned, Novena is in the CCR. Moreover, Neu @ Novena is located just off the main Moulmein Road. I must emphasize that road noise from major roads is something that buyers looking at new project launches often overlook. This property is not along the main road yet it is located so close to Novena MRT Station. The developments along the main road like Novena Suites, The Huntington and Novellis will be affected by road noise along Moulmein Road.
Roxy-Pacific Holdings is an experienced developer with a long track record. Their notable developments include Trilive, EON Shenton, Liv On Wilkie, Liv On Sophia and The Marque@Irrawaddy. Perhaps the only gripe I can say is that Neu at Novena is not a large development with a large offering of facilities.
I do think that Fyve Derbyshire’s pricing is extremely aggressive. Prices in the resale market in neighbouring project 6 Derbyshire and Adria are between SGD$1,676 psf to SGD$1,839 psf. Prices at Fyve Derbyshire start from around the SGD$2,200 psf range where the premium for a new unit at Fyve Derbyshire is about 20 to 25 per cent above the ones in the resale market.
This is slightly further away from Novena MRT Station but not by much. There is still easy access to the station as well as United Square and Novena Square. Moreover, if you would like a new project launch that is in Novena and within a 1-kilometre radius to Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), Fyve Derbyshire is your only option. Neu at Novena is outside the 1-kilometre radius.
Same as above. Fyve Derbyshire is not a large development with loads of facilities but still built by a reputable developer.
p.s. Disclaimer: I am a licensed real estate salesperson at the point of writing this review. My real estate agency is the marketing agency for Neu at Novena and Fyve Derbyshire. Buyers can approach me to purchase Neu at Novena and Fyve Derbyshire and I will earn a commission from the developer. My reason for writing this review is to share my personal view about the developments not as a real estate salesperson but in the neutral context of a buyer and hopefully share some insight to help buyers make a more informed buying decision.
You can access more information, floor plans and price lists, about Neu at Novena and other new project launches here. (coming soon)
You can access more information, floor plans and price lists, about Fyve Derbyshire and other new project launches here. (coming soon)
My other Singapore Property Reviews